tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC December 28, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EST
tonight, triple threat. blizzard conditions, tornados, flash floods. 100 million americans at risk with a storm that has already killed dozens. no charges. a grand jury does not indict the rookie cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old tamir rice. tonight many are outraged. the first look into the chicago home where police accidentally killed a mother of five. now embattled mayor rahm emanuel cuts his vacation short to face the fallout. peyton manning hits back. the nfl superstar telling nbc sports he may take legal action over doping allegations while the reporter who accuses him will not back down. and flight risk. dozens of death linked
to a decades-old fuel design still being used in med evacs and hundreds of helicopters. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. on what is a dangerous weather night, in the next 24 hours more than half of the country will have experienced the most severe weather of this winter season so far. more than 75 million people in the path of heavy snow, blizzard conditions and ice, another 30 million on alert for flash flooding across ten states. this system has already spawned deadly tornados and it is not moving quickly. nbc's jacob rascon is in omaha, nebraska, where it has been snowing all day. jacob? >> reporter: good evening. tonight the deadly and crippling storm is prompting evacuation, states of emergency and swift water rescues. the midwest and plain states are taking a
direct hit on an abrupt end to what was now an unseasonably warm winter. havoc across the midwest in plain states today. heavy snow, ice and gale-force winds spreading across 11 states. missouri under a state of emergency as heavy rains clobber the state for the third straight day. so far ten people have been killed there because of the flooding. >> it has been a very difficult several days. and this threat is clearly not over. >> reporter: on the other side of the storm system, another triple threat. snow, sleet and freezing rain. deteriorating conditions across iowa as blowing snow closed roads with up to a foot in some cities. a white christmas came a few days late here in iowa city. nine states are under winter storm warnings from kansas to michigan, with millions of people affected. in wichita, overnight a plane slipped off the runway in ice and wind.
no injuries were reported. at major transportation hubs like chicago o'hare, travelers left stranded or waiting, with as many as a third of the cancelations originated here, according to flight aware. 1,900 flights across the country have been canceled and more than 3,000 have been delayed. >> i'm looking for a flight and i can't find one. >> reporter: as the system moves north and east, residents in massachusetts are already gearing up for the storm's impact on tuesday. >> this warm weather is nice. but it is new england. we need the cold. we need a little bit of snow, not too much, nothing like last year and i'm ready for it. >> jacob rascon, nbc news, omaha. >> this is gabe guiterrez in texas. a state reeling from blizzards, floods and record tornados all in one weekend. four counties declared disaster areas. >> i'm glad to be alive. >> reporter: in dallas, this morning, crews rush to rescue a driver stranded in high water after more heavy rain overnight. at least nine tornados cut through a 40-mile stretch, killing 11
people, including 27-year-old petra ruiz. her mother dominga said petra with four children was driving home from the hair salon, a christmas gift from her husband. her car, among several, blown off i-30 saturday night. >> i just couldn't believe it. until i saw the suv, how it looked, i knew. >> reporter: this is what is left of the home where an infant just 3 days old was killed. >> i was holding her little fingers. it was horrible. something i'll never forget. >> reporter: the wild weather stretching north, lubbock battling record snow. late today oklahoma governor extended the state of emergency to include all counties as 200,000 customers are without power. and some areas of new mexico buried under 2 feet of snow. tonight here in garland, texas -- >> this is your home? >> it was. >> reporter: reality is sinking in. >> the worst part was getting outside and realizing that
everything was really gone. >> reporter: as residents let go of life as they knew it. >> the house is gone but we're still here. >> reporter: -- but hold on to whatever they can. authorities here say 18 people are still unaccounted for. while the rain has moved on, temperatures are dropping. making this clean-up even more difficult. kate. >> i can only imagine. gabe guiterrez in texas tonight. thank you. new developments tonight in a case that has provoked a nationwide outcry. 12-year-old tamir rice was caring an air soft pellet gun when he was fatally shot by cleveland police. today we learned the officers involved will not face charges. causing backlash from rice's family and on social media. we get more tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: the moment before tamir rice was shot and killed by cleveland police last year, the county prosecutor said the 12-year-old tried to show the cops his gun was fake. but the two officers didn't know that and feared for their lives. there will be no indictment.
>> given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications, by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police. >> reporter: the 911 call reported a gunman in the park. but the prosecutor says dispatch never relayed critical details that rice was likely a minor, and likely carrying a toy. that toy, an air soft replica of a colt, looks a lot like the real thing. >> they are very difficult to tell, even by people very fam illan to guns. even when you stand and stare at. >> today's rice's family is saddened but not surprised by the decision. >> someone other than the elected county official who works closely with law enforcement officers of this community day in and day out should have probably made that decision. >> reporter: rice's death sparked protests in cleveland and added fuel to ongoing demonstrations around the country. two weeks before officials in ferguson, missouri, said the officer who shot
michael brown would not be criminally charged. today the county prosecutor called rice's death an absolute tragedy. adding, civil action may provide the accountability he said the family deserves. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. chicago mayor rahm emanuel is cutting his cuba vacation short after another violent incident involving his police force. this time police shot and killed two people at an apartment building. one of them, a mother of five, struck after she opened her front door, according to her family. nbc's kevin tibbles has a first look inside of that home and talks with family members demanding answers. >> reporter: today the family of bettie jones gathered in her apartment without her. >> i feel like i want to wake up and have my mom. but i can't. she's gone. she was murdered. and that is all that sits in my heart. >> reporter: the 55-year-old mother of of five and grandmother of ten was shot dead by police on saturday when they were called to a
domestic disturbance in the apartment upstairs. >> according to the family, bettie jones was asked by the man upstairs to answer the door when police got here. she came out of her apartment and did just that. and seconds later she was shot. her daughter letitia found her mother shot in the neck. >> i never thought i would lose my mom to answering the front door. >> reporter: a 19-year-old was also killed. his family said he had developed a mental illness. in a statement police said officers were confronted by a combative individual. adding jones was accidentally struck and offered deepest condolences. the city mayor, rahm emanuel is asking for changes in the way the police respond to mental health crisis. this comes at a time in chicago when many had marched the 2014 police shooting death of 17-year-old laquan mcdonald. something bettie jones' family said
deeply affected her. >> my mom was scared that my oldest son who is 15 to get shot by the police officers. but who gets shot and killed? her. >> reporter: tonight the case is under investigation by the independent police review authority. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. overseas now where iraqi forces are claiming a major victory against isis. the iraqi flag was raised over ramadi today. a key city that has been overrun by isis for seven months now. but the battle isn't over. pockets of isis fighters are still believed to be inside of that city. ramadi is 70 miles from bagdad, the iraqi military is trying to cut off supply lines to fallujah, another isis stronghold. turning to the campaign trail. republican front-runner donald trump continues to attack hillary clinton. but now he also has a new target. trump, who is holding a rally tonight in new hampshire, is taking aim at former president bill clinton. nbc's hallie jackson is on
the trail with trump. >> reporter: in iowa, icy weather is forcing campaigns to cancel stops. but in new hampshire, a different kind of flurry. attacks from donald trump. not just on hillary clinton now. but her husband. >> bill clinton is not going to be the end-all in the campaign. and he'll come under attack. >> reporter: the former first family bundled up with trump's tweet storms gaining strength. writing, if hillary thinks she can unleash her husband with his terrible record of women abuse while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong. >> i think he is fair game because his presidency was considered to be troubled. >> picking on trump for the comments he made about women, it is fair game. >> this is a sure-fire way to get conservatives to like you more but not as great of a general election strategy. >> reporter: late, a response from the clinton campaign,
hillary clinton won't be bullied or distracted by attacks by her and former president clinton. adding she will stand up to him. a turn around from 2008. >> hillary is a great friend of mine. her husband is a great friend of mine. fantastic people. >> reporter: still, it is not the blast from the past, but back to the future making headlines today in new hampshire. after a tough editorial comparing trump to old movie bully biff tanyon. called a crude blow-hard by the publisher, trump hit hard. >> he is a real low-life. there is no question about it. and on top of that, he does this. >> reporter: trump may not like the biff reference but he might be open to a different comparison. one to pope francis. both are tied for the title of the second most admired men in america. behind president obama, but ahead of bill clinton, kate, who will be out on the campaign trail for his wife here in new hampshire next week.
>> hallie jacks in new hampshire for us. thank you. the one pegged as the favorite in the republican race is shaking up his strategy. jeb bush seeking a way to elevate his single-digit poll numbers tried to show a different side of himself today. nbc's casey hunt covers the bush campaign for us. >> reporter: kate, far from the front-runner. jeb bush campaigned in his home state of florida today taking a question about selfies. he said he learned a thing or two about how to get it just right. >> young people do it better than older people. we'll go through a little training class here. it is cooler to do it diagonally rather than straight up. remember that. and it is better to do it higher than lower because you look skinnier. [ laughter ] am i right? >> reporter: that is jeb bush's sense of humor. sometimes an awkward fit for the campaign trail. he's just not a natural politician like his brother george w. bush was and it really shows. but, kate, it is a year when older political institutions
and maybe families are having a hard time making the sell to voters. running against donald trump has been tough for bush which is described by some people close to him as a paragraph candidate in a twitter world. bush is trying to change that with a hashtag and showing his human side. kate. >> casey hunt, thanks. still ahead tonight, peyton manning says he's angry and ready to take action despite stunning doping allegations made in a new documentary, despite the filmmakers who say they stand by their story. also an investigation uncovers a hidden danger in some med evacs and other helicopters that could be deadly. some med evacs ot huh. introducing centrum vitamints. a brand new multivitamin you enjoy like a mint. with a full spectrum of essential nutrients... surprisingly smooth, refreshingly cool. i see you found the vitamints.
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back now with new developments today on the bombshell doping allegations against star nfl quarterback peyton manning. the makers of the documentary are standing by their undercover reporting despite the main source recanting his story. manning, meantime, is playing offense and said he is ready to take action. here is nbc's blake mccoy. >> reporter: football great peyton manning now threatening to sue over an al jazeera documentary that links manning and several pro-athletes to performance-enhancing drugs. >> complete trash, garbage. there is more adjectives i would like to be able to use. but it really makes me sick. >> reporter: the doping allegations are made in undercover recordings with charlie sly who claims he inturned for a short time at the guyer institute in indianapolis in 2011.
at the same time manning received treatment there following an injury. in the documentary, the pharmacist said his wife, ashley was sent human growth hormone or hgh. >> everywhere, florida. it is never under peyton's name. it would be under her name. >> i have my treatments. she may have hers. that is her business. there is no connection between the two. >> reporter: sly has recanted his statements and said he is grieving his loss of his fiance. but al jazeera is aggressively defending its reporting. one of the reporters telling msnbc, the truth lies in the undercover recordings. >> we spent six days recording charly sly, hour upon hour, there is more than 20 hours of recordings. look at his demeanor in those conversations. he's giving fact upon fact upon fact. >> manning's current and former teams are standing behind him. the denver broncos say they
support him 100%. the indianapolis colts call the report utterly ridiculous. as for the league, the nfl is reviewing the matter. >> finding the evidence is going to be challenging, because this involves parties that aren't within the nfl's jurisdiction. >> reporter: manning, an all-american hero, fighting to preserve his legacy. blake mccoy, nbc news, los angeles. we're back in a moment with a major security change coming to airports across the nation. thank you. can you hold on? ♪ hold on for one more day really? hey, i know there's pain. why do you lock yourself up in these chains? ♪ this would be so easy if you had progressive. our mobile app would let you file a claim and help you find one of our service centers where we manage the entire repair process. things will go your way if you hold on. [ sighs ] someday somebody's gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodbye. ♪ say goodbye no, you just made it weird. if you have high blood pressure many cold medicines
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there is a potential danger in the sky, linked to dozens of deaths. fuel tanks on hundreds of civilian helicopters that are supposed to remain in tact in a crash. but in hundreds of cases, many involving med evac choppers', tanks have leaked, causing deadly fires or explosions. tom costello has more tonight on an investigation launched by our denver affiliate kusa. >> july 3rd, frisco,
colorado, a med evac chopper lifts off from the pad but within 30 seconds it's down. fuel quickly begins pouring from the tank. three seconds later, fire. hospital staff come running. they manage to pull one flight nurse to safety. but the other flight nurse, dave repsher, suffers burns over 90% of his body. the pilot pat ma haney dies. fire said the autopsy, a contributing factor. the helicopter was only a year old. but the design of its plastic fuel tank dated back to when it was approved by the faa in 1977, 38 years earlier. now an investigation by our nbc affiliate in denver, kusa, has found more than 170 similar accidents across the country since 1994, involving 78 confirmed fatalities. >> what sticks out is in many cases the aircraft is just consumed and you have to wonder why. >> reporter: for years experts have warned that helicopter fuel tanks too often leak on impact.
but while the military has required crash-resistant fuel tanks since 1978, there is no such requirements for most civilian choppers. crash-resistant fuel tanks are available but the ntsb estimated that 85% of choppers built since 1994 don't have them. >> this is a problem that is nationwide. it involves television newscopters and air ambulances and police helicopters. >> the ntsb is urging the faa require all new crash resistant fuel tanks in all new choppers, but so far they are only required in new models of choppers. >> we want to make sure that fuel tanks operating within the system is safe. >> reporter: tonight the med evac industry is urging a retrofit of fleets to flame resistant tanks as soon as possible. tom costello, nbc news, washington. the tsa is increasing random checks for airport and airline employees with badges that let them bypass security check points. this comes two months
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finally tonight, a tribute to a man who was both a legend on the basketball court and a legendary prankster. meadowlark lemon, perhaps the most famous harlem globetrotter, has died at the age of 83. nbc's ron mott looks at the man who had the skill of an athlete and the soul of a comedian. >> reporter: much like his personality, the soundtrack of meadowlark lemon's life, undeniably catchy. familiar finger snapping fun, and using confetti and a million-watt smile to light up generations of young faces. the funny man nicknamed the crown prince of basketball ruled the court for a nearly quarter century. the signature hook shot something to marvel. soaring high around the world. >> i've had a great
run. >> landing him in the hall of fame. >> those are the three hook shots that i've known in my life. peggan, kareem and meadowlark's hook shot with a lot of lemon flavor on it. >> reporter: he grew up in wilmington, north carolina, and when discrimination kept most black players out of the nba, and they offered an international stage to showcase his skills. with audiences to the pope at the vatican and a cold war visit to russia, to the new york famed madison square garden where the globetrotters played today. holding a moment of silence in his honor. >> he was charismatic. he was an athlete. he was a showman. he was all of those things and more. >> reporter: he was a star off the hardwood too. spending his later years as a motivational speaker and ordained minister to inspire kids. >> you have to be a